MRI scan

Also known as magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) looks inside your body using magnetic fields and radio waves.

An MRI is done to get a better, clearer look at your insides. It can also help avoid more unpleasant tests. It can detect many conditions especially around your eyes, ears, heart and circulatory system. It can also find torn ligaments, so is good for sports injuries.

Before an MRI

You must restrict food and drink for a few hours before and tell your doctor if you have any internal metal staples or clips. You may be given an injection of contrast dye to make the scan easier to read. During the procedure, you lie on a bed that slides into an open-ended tunnel. If you don’t like enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) you can take a sedative. It is a noisy experience, so you will be given headphones to help dull the noise. Nothing will touch you during the scan and you can talk to staff via an intercom.

There are no risks although, rarely, some people may have a reaction to the contrast dye.

Your doctor will discuss the results with you.

Learn more

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Pacific Radiology NZ, 2011

Credits: Health Navigator NZ August 2014. Image from